A flying machine that flies. “It was a tiny article, devoid of pictures of any kind, about the Wright brothers,” begins Ias, speaking of the article he found on the ground while doing hard labor in the mine, as he dunks the ball into the hoop. “Though I couldn’t read yet, I instinctively knew what it was about.” He catches the ball as it falls through the net, and passes it to Huey.
“I remember that newspaper too.” Huey twists past Ias and takes a shot. “My dad made such a fuss about it he fell down the stairs.” The ball swishes through the net, and the two best friends join in uproariously laughter at Huey’s father’s misfortune. Now, what better time to recite a 14 year old newspaper article by memory, than over a friendly game of basketball?
Dantalian no Shoka’s brilliant writing has truly soared to new heights, like the wings of a German triplane sailing into the setting sun. We are reading mystical newspaper articles not with the eyes, but with the heart!
This exchange was but one of many gems hidden in this episode.
Heil Goth Loli!
On the second to last episode, a new character is introduced, Rasiel, the library of Raziel (this was the only reference of interest this week). Rasiel is the most compelling character Dantalian has yet seen. Rasiel, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
I love thy dance beneath the silver moon,
the flutter of thy dress which makes me swoon,
thy lengthy socks which seem to never end,
thy broken eye that no doctor can mend.
Thy youth is no concern to you or me,
with breasts voluptuous and round to see.
Rasiel! Hand me the key to thine eye!
Yet alas, I am dead, and say goodbye.
The Bride of War, Daughter of Germany
Honor and laud to thee! Heil, goth loli!
Truly, Rasiel is “the supreme mystery that no man can approach”.
Huey and Ias’ deep friendship will surely last until the end of time. When they first meet, Huey’s first words are that he will kill more people than Ias. But Ias’ gaze penetrates Huey’s soul, just as it penetrated the words of the newspaper in his youth, and he can see that Huey is not a warrior. Ias reads a passage from a book, and Huey is deeply moved. They become bestest best friends forever.
We can tell this because of their deep bonding while playing basketball, and their discussion about how much they love the Wright brothers. They make a solemn promise that they will meet Orville Wright, ask him if he is happy, and get his autograph.
Unfortunately, before they can keep their promise, Ias goes and joins the Germans for personal reasons which go unexplained. We could speculate, but we don’t want to intrude on his privacy, now do we?
A Compelling Plot
This episode had one of the most complex, interleaved plots we have yet seen from Dantalian. We begin with Huey and Ias’ first meeting, and the budding of their lasting friendship.
After the opening, Huey and Ias are trying to kill each other. Ias has joined the Germans. Huey almost loses Dalian’s key, but luckily catches it. This is all so exciting!
Next, we jump to a bar, where Ias tells the bartender how he wants the war to continue forever so that he can finish writing his book. You can feel the depth and intensity of his character here.
Then in a shocking twist, Ias falls unconscious at the bar. He opens his eyes to find himself surrounded by a sea of flames, and we see Rasiel laughing maniacally in front of him. What could have happened?
Ias wakes up from the nightmare to find himself alone in a mansion with Rasiel. She seduces him (we’ve already covered how). He kisses her hand and decides to finish the book he is writing. Then comes the deep bonding over the basketball game.
Now we jump to a giant monster striking down airplanes with its hand. This episode has such smooth, logical transitions. So this is the power of Ias’ phantom book?! Huey is in trouble.
Oh, wait! Huey wasn’t there! That was some other people it swatted down! Now it’s sunny out, and here’s Huey. He reads part of Ias’ book too, and tells Ias that he already died in Paris, with the one he loved. Oh, so that’s why Ias joined the Germans! His lover died and he was broken. I was wondering about that. I’m also wondering about how they can talk to each other while flying airplanes on opposing sides. I bet that’s the power of the phantom book too!
Huey, crying, shoots down Ias. I was a bit teary-eyed here too. The power of friendship!
Ias’ plane crashes and bursts into flames. Ias makes it out unscathed. But wait! Rasiel is waiting for him. She gives him a gentle flick, and he falls over backwards, dead. What a shocker! No, wait! He was already dead, and a phantom book brought him back to life so he could write another phantom book. What Huey said wasn’t a metaphor after all! And the person who brought him back to life was… the BARTENDER from earlier! Who is actually a PROFESSOR!
We end with Huey lighting a fire in front of a “no smoking” sign. What will the final episode have in store? Will Huey and Dalian fight the evil professor? Will Dalian eat more sweets?! Tune in next week to find out!